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Equivalence FAQs

last updated February 2015

‘Equivalence’ for Clinical Scientists

Q. What does “equivalence” mean?

A. Equivalence is when two things are directly comparable although not exactly the same, because they have equal attributes such as value, significance, amount or function. In the context of education/training, qualifications and experience, equivalence is said to exist when the outcomes of two processes are directly comparable even though the paths to achieving them are different. When equivalence is shown to exist between a new qualification and the qualification or experience a person already has, further education or training becomes unnecessary.

For Modernising Scientific Careers (MSC), the Academy for Healthcare Science is assessing the equivalence to MSC programme outcomes of people’s existing (non-MSC) qualifications and experience. When a person provides evidence that they have the knowledge, skills and competence equating to the relevant MSC programme outcomes, they are issued with a Certificate of Equivalence. This certificate confers eligibility to apply for appropriate registration e.g. statutory registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as a Clinical Scientist.

The equivalence process will also be applied to EU and overseas applicants.

Q. How will the Academy assess and decide whether my existing qualification/s and experience are equivalent to the MSC Scientist Training Programme?

A. Professional groups will determine equivalence for candidates within their own theme. Your professional group will make a professional and informed judgement by evaluating the evidence you provide about the comparability of your own qualifications and experience to the MSC programme outcomes.

Q. What evidence do I need to demonstrate equivalence?

A. Your evidence will need to show that (a) your training, qualifications and experience are directly comparable to the specialist Scientist Training Programme (STP) outcomes and (b) you adhere to all aspects of Good Scientific Practice.

Q. Are there any language requirements for overseas applications?

Applicants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) are also required to provide evidence of English language skills, which may be included in the professional references. Applicants from outside the EEA whose first language is not English may be asked to provide a language test certificate with a minimum International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 7.0 with no element less than 6.5 or a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Internet Based Test (IBT) Minimum score of 100/120.

Q. How were the professional groups formed?

A. Members were nominated by the relevant professional bodies. There was open competition, application and recruitment for the Chairs.

Q. What does having a Certificate of Equivalence really mean? And how is it different from a Certificate of Attainment?

A. The AHCS was granted approval by the Health and Care Professions Council to award the Certificate of Equivalence and the Certificate of Attainment for clinical scientists. The Certificate of Equivalence is awarded to an applicant whose evidence has demonstrated that their education and experience have equipped them with the same knowledge and skills as the MSC Scientist Training Programme and that they comply with all aspects of Good Scientific Practice. A Certificate of Attainment is awarded upon successful completion of a MSC Scientist Training Programme. Certificates of Equivalence and Attainment confer eligibility to apply to join the HCPC register of Clinical Scientists.

Q. How will I know whether to apply for Association of Clinical Scientists route 2 or AHCS Equivalence?

A. A joint assessment unit comprising of a team from the AHCS and the Association of Clinical Scientists is being developed. This will help applicants to decide upon and follow the most appropriate route. Should you require any further information please contact the Academy via registration@ahcs.ac.uk .

Q. What is the fee for applying for Equivalence?

A. The fee for an STP Equivalence application is set at £280. There are administrative charges associated with unsuccessful application; please find these outlined in our Applicants Guide

Q. I have been successful with my Initial Application and been invited to submit a portfolio. How should I approach this?

A. Firstly, you should read our Applicant’s Guide and The Equivalence Process Explained which contain a great deal of useful information. We now also have an example portfolio for your consideration which can be found here.

Q. I am an Association of Clinical Scientists assessor. Can I be an AHCS assessor too?

A. Yes, the joint assessment unit will not only help applicants navigate through equivalence but will also support assessors and facilitate the sharing of resources. Training will be provided.

Q. I am already on a Scientist Training Programme that was not accredited when I started. How will I become registered?

A. The AHCS and the National School of Healthcare Science (NSHCS) are jointly developing a process to enable trainees who began a non-accredited Scientist Training Programme to exit with an Academy Certificate that will confer eligibility to apply for HCPC registration. Trainees will be kept informed of progress.

Q. Are there equivalence routes for the entire career framework?

A. There are currently STP and PTP equivalence routes and other career level equivalence will be developed as the registration routes are developed in the future.

Q. How will I be notified of the outcome of my assessment?

You will be notified in writing by AHCS of your result within four weeks of your Interview Assessment date.

Q. I have been awarded Full Equivalence and would like to register with HCPC. How can I do this?

AHCS will notify HCPC that a Candidate has been awarded Full Equivalence. However, you will need to apply for registration directly through HCPC, which can be found at http://www.hcpc-uk.org/apply/uk/ .

Q. When will I receive my Certificate of Equivalence?

Your Certificate of Equivalence will be sent to you shortly after your notification of Interview Assessment outcome.

Q. I have been awarded Partial Equivalence. What does this mean?

Partial Equivalence means that the Assessment panel felt the Candidate required further work to achieve specific outcome(s) and has been invited to resubmit. You will NOT have to resubmit your portfolio at this stage, however you will be invited to undertake additional learning and be reassessed on an area of deficiency.  There may be a fee attached to this process.

Q. When will the PTP and HSST Equivalence process be open for applications?

PTP Equivalence is now live for application; HSST will be available in the future.

Q. Does AHCS have an Appeals and Complaints process?

Yes. For further information see the AHCS Appeals and Complaints for equivalence certification policy (POL003).  Appeals must be made in writing within 28 days of receipt of the report from the AHCS.  Appeals can be made based on procedural matters related to the Equivalence process, not to the outcome of the process. Appeals against judgements of Assessors or the ratification panel will not be Appeals will be considered by an Appeals Panel and if necessary the Panel may undertake an investigation of the process which was undertaken, including receiving written statements or conducting interviews.

Q. How long will the Interview Assessment last?

The Equivalence Assessment Interview will last no longer than 60 minutes.

Q. Will my portfolio be referenced during the interview?

Possibly, but this is not guaranteed. Please note that your portfolio should be considered as the first stage of the Assessment process, and that the Candidate will only be invited for the Interview Assessment should it be deemed satisfactory.

Q. I have achieved STP Full Equivalence and registered with HCPC. What’s next?

You will now be able to find yourself registered on the HCPC website as a Clinical Scientist. This is a protected title as outlined here https://www.hcpc-uk.org/aboutregistration/protectedtitles/ . Any deviation from this must be agreed with your Trust.